BY BUDDY NEVINS
South Broward voters need to remember this post next year when Sue Gunzburger is running for re-election:
She is behind the biggest proposed expansion of county government in two decades.
Is she giving former State Sen. Steve Geller, who is running against her, an issue?
Gunzburger suggested that county bureaucrats may be able to operate the jail system better than Sheriff Al Lamberti.
I don’t believe it. This is a commission that can’t do the jobs they already have, as I pointed out here in another post about the fight with sheriff.
The jails would put an additional 1,700 employees and $233 million under the commissioners’ thumbs.
Gunzburger pushed through a “study” of whether it would save money if the county took over the jails from Lamberti. I wonder how much of the taxpayers’ money this “study will cost?
I predict the “study” will say just what the county commissioners want it to say.
And they will use it to threaten Lamberti to cut his budget.or else.
Only Commissioner Kristin Jacobs wisely voted against the “study.”
“I was elected to be a county commissioner. I wasn’t elected to be the sheriff, she is quoted as saying.
I have no idea what Wyman really thinks about this farce. He doesn’t write opinions.
Here is what I believe:
This jail take over idea is a shameful displays of raw politics.
Don’t believe the guff about saving money. After all, the county commission doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to economizing.
This deal has two goals: (1) expand the all-Democratic commission’s power and (2) punish Lamberti, a Republican.
They are mad at Lamberti for not cutting enough out of his budget.
But law enforcement and detention is more important than running libraries and parks. Lamberti deserves more of the money because his job is the most vital job government does — public safety.
These commissioners are jealous of Lamberti. They are jealous of the media attention he commands. He is known by everybody, while they are largely anonymous.
They don’t like it that Lamberti has his own political base and proved he can get elected without kowtowing to them.
Before commissioners point their fingers at Lamberti, maybe they should look in the mirror. Or in the budget books.
Maybe they can answer these questions?
How come the Broward County government budget increased by one-third since the 2001-2002 budget? The population went up less than one-fifth and is actually decreasing now.
This jail takeover idea stinks. It will complicate coordination between the jails and the officers on the street.
I am very suspicious this is the first step towards privatizing the jails. Lobbyists have been buzzing around the Government Center, peddling the privatization idea. They even have support from at least one union leader.
Gunzburger is against privatization. But now that she has started the train, she may not be able to stop it at the station she wants.
In the end, commissioners may just get what they wish for.
Now if there are problems in the jail, its Lamberti’s fault.
If they take over the jails, every time there is an escape, it will be their problem. Every time there is a death in the jail, their problem. Every time there are union negotiations with the detention deputies, it is their problem.
Steve, are you taking notes?
I can see the Geller ad now: “Gunzburger was behind the biggest expansion of government in the midst of a recession” or “Gunzburger tied the hands of our cops and put all our lives in jeopardy.”
You may not realize it from this post, but I like Sue Gunzburger.
She is active in her synagogue. She active with social service charities. She has a heart, instead of the cold steel that’s in the chest of some other commissioners.
No, I don’t think Gunzburger is evil.
She is just wrong on this one.